SIOUX?CITY - Morningside College head women's basketball coach Jamie Sale announced the names of three recruits who will enroll at Morningside this fall and compete for the Mustangs.
The recruits are:
Sara Heywood, a 5-8 guard from Estherville, Iowa. Heywood is a senior at Estherville-Lincoln Central High School, where she earned first-team All-Lakes Conference honors and helped lead the team to a runner-up finish at this year's Class 3A state tournament. She averaged 8.7 points per game and had 68 assists and 66 steals for averages of 2.6 assists and 2.5 steals per contest. Heywood led Estherville-Lincoln Central with her 68 assists and also topped the team in field goal accuracy with 88 hoops in 168 attempts for 52.4 percent. Heywood made 20 of 55 3-point field goal attempts for 36.4 percent and 29 of 41 free throw attempts for 70.7 percent.
She averaged 7.1 points, 2.6 steals, and 2.1 assists per game as a junior en route to second-team All-Lakes Conference honors. Heywood made 70 of 167 field goal attempts for 41.9 percent and was her team's most prolific and accurate 3-point threat with a team-high 30 3-point field goals in 85 attempts for 35.3 percent. Heywood also received second-team All-Lakes Conference recognition as a sophomore when she averaged 5.3 points and 2.4 steals per game.
Lexi Ackerman, a 5-9 guard from Rock Rapids, Iowa, who has led the state of Iowa in assists each of the past two seasons. Ackerman is a senior at Central Lyon Community High School, where she helped lead the school to Iowa's Class 1A state championship this past season. Ackerman was named the captain of the Class 1A All-State Tournament Team and was a first-team all-state selection of both the Iowa Newspaper Association (INA) and the Des Moines Register. She also received first-team Sioux City Journal All-Northwest Iowa and All-Siouxland Conference honors.
Ackerman averaged 16.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 3.3 steals per game and drilled 18 of 29 field goal attempts for 62.1 percent in Central Lyon's three state tournament contests. She posted a double-double of 25 points and 16 rebounds in Central Lyon's opening round 67-43 triumph against Earlham. Ackerman contributed 12 points, eight rebounds, and five assists to help lead Central Lyon to a 63-61 win against Newell-Fonda in the state championship game.
For the season, Ackerman averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 8.3 assists, and 5.0 steals per game and drilled 179 of 353 field goal attempts for 50.7 percent. She led the state with 232 assists and finished sixth in the state with 140 steals.
Ackerman also received first-team INA all-state laurels as a junior in addition to first-team All-Siouxland Conference and second-team Sioux City Journal All-Northwest Iowa honors. She led the state with 168 assists and was eighth with 123 steals for averages of 6.7 assists and 4.9 steals per game. Ackerman also averaged 13.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest and made 123 of 265 field goal attempts for 46.4 percent.
Ackerman received first-team All-Siouxland Conference and fourth-team Sioux City Journal All-Northwest Iowa honors as a sophomore when she averaged 12.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. She had 91 assists and 87 steals for norms of 4.0 assists and 3.8 steals per contest and made 110 of 259 field goal attempts for 42.5 percent.
Katie Gubbels, a 5-7 guard from Laurel, Neb. Gubbels is a senior at Laurel-Concord/Coleridge High School, where she earned honorable mention Class C-2 all-state recognition from the Omaha World-Herald this past season. She averaged 7.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.1 steals per game. Gubbels finished the campaign with 75 steals for the sixth highest single-season total in Laurel-Concord/Coleridge history. She had at least one steal in 21 of the team's 24 contests and had a season's high seven steals in games against Ponca and Wakefield. Gubbels also had her season's scoring high of 13 points in the Ponca game and had a season's high eight rebounds against Wayne.
The recruits will join a Morningside team that posted a 31-5 record and won the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) regular season and post-season tournament championships this past season. The Mustangs advanced to the Final Four of the NAIA Division II National Tournament for the sixth time in the last 10 years, where they lost 65-64 against eventual NAIA II National Champion Indiana Wesleyan University in the semifinals. The Mustangs have a 297-61 record for a .830 winning percentage over the last 10 seasons and were NAIA Division II National Champions in 2004, 2005, and 2009.